Wednesday, September 11, 2013

DON'T BLINK...

1 Thessalonians 4:18 says, "Therefore encourage each other with these words."  So.........  
  • "Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever." - 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17
I have got Great News for the True Believer in Christ!  Have you heard the phrase - "Don't blink or you'll miss it"?  Well, with The Rapture Christians may Hear Before They See It/Him.  Take a look at verse 16 of the above passage which reads...
  • "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first."
Whew!  You gotta lotta Holy Sound coming from the heavens BEFORE anything happens to "we who are still alive".  
  1. The Lord is issuing a "loud command".
  2. The voice of the archangel is crying out something
  3. The trumpet of God is sounded
  4. The dead in Christ are raised from the dead
It appears Christians hear a lot BEFORE they are Raptured and very possibly even BEFORE they are Transformed.  The phrase "After that" tells you the order of things.  The phrase tells you what happens after the Lord commands, the archangels voices, the trumpet is sounded, and dead are raised.  It tells you "we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." After the Preliminaries of Heaven are heard, Christians are "caught up" or Raptured.  However, according to this order (especially the dead in Christ rising first) the Transformation of the Christian body occurs BEFORE the Rapture.
God confirms His Word (of order) in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52. 
  • "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed--  in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."
Well, will you look at that!  There's some activity BEFORE "we will be changed".  
  1. A trumpet is going to sound.
  2. And the dead will be raised imperishable.
Well, how about the trumpet sounding, the dead being raised, and the remaining Christians being changed - all at the same time?  Not ever having gone through a Rapture, I could buy that.  However, once changed at the same time as the trumpet sounds and dead are raised - We Will Not Precede Those Who Were Dead In Christ. Which reminds me of God's Word through David - "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints." - Psalm 116:15

There is no doubt the speed at which those who remain are transformed - "in the twinkling of an eye". However, I dug a little deeper.  I researched the original Greek for "flash" within the phrase "in a flash" of 1 Corinthians 15:52.  The word comes from ἄτομος/atomos/at'-om-os.  It means indivisible, an “atom” of time - a moment.

Now let us observe "twinkling" from the phrase "in the twinkling of an eye" of the same verse.  The original Greek word for twinkling is ῥιπή/rhipē/hree-pay'.  It means a jerk of the eye, that is, by analogy, an instant: twinkling.  You and I call it - a blink.  

The Christian's transformation is going to happen in a blink.  However, there are some preliminary activities. Listen out for those BEFORE HINTS!  Are you Rapture Ready?  If you are Not then "confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, [and] you will be saved." (Romans 10:9).  In the meantime, Don't Blink!